Here is my 2nd round story for the NYCmidnight flash fiction challenge (I got a respectable 11 points for my story in the 1st round).
The genre was romantic comedy, object a carved pumpkin and location a veterinarian’s waiting room.
Selwyn and the Pumpkin
A dog and a pumpkin are involved in the outrageous end of one relationship, and become the catalysts in the beginning of another.
This is how I met Dr George and fell in love. It’s what brought me to the veterinarian’s waiting room with a crazed Scottish terrier stuck in a pumpkin and the man of my dreams staring down at me with one strong hand resting gently on my arm and the other stroking the dog.
My LH (Lovely Husband) announced that he was leaving me through the bathroom door. I was in the shower and had called out to him sweetly to bring me a towel. From the other side of the door he yelled, “I’m leaving. I want out. Sorry.” I slammed out of the shower, chased him down the passage with wet feet, slipped on a slimy squeaky toy deliberately left in the middle of the floor by Selwyn the Scottish terrier who always leaves landmines to kill me, and I arrived at the front door in a sodden shambles just in time to see the bastard jumping into our car and leaving. I screamed after him, “Typical! You coward!” And then I threw the pumpkin.
In front of all the onlookers in the waiting room Dr George helped me to my feet and picked up the pumpkin with the dog.
It hadn’t come as a total surprise. I knew exactly where the LH was going while I stood in the doorway, only partially covered by the bath mat I had grabbed, with tears streaming down my face. Selwyn licked the shower water off my ankles.
The LH (what will that stand for now?) was going to the SG (Skinny Goose). The SG had squeezed her way into our discontented lives at Yeshi’s Yoga studio. Our therapist had suggested we do something together. I am left-hand left-eye dominant, useless at all ball sports, and I carry a few extra pounds. The LH (Lousy Husband) is a competitive, body obsessed, calorie-intake-preoccupied health freak. It wasn’t easy to find something that we both wanted to do. Yoga was an uncomfortable compromise. At the sports equipment shop I chose purple and blue mats while LH drooled over wind surfers and mountain bikes, and muttered under his breath that yoga was for hippies. At the till he couldn’t contain himself. “R1200 for two bits of foam and a sports bra?”
His tune changed the minute he clapped eyes on the SG, in her semi-see-through white leotard and Thai fisherman’s pants, doing splits on her foam mat and sighing in an orgasmic way every time she breathed out. She seemed to breathe out a lot. “Welcome to Yeshi’s,” she breathed at him, ignoring me completely. “I can see your base chakra craves some expansion,” she hissed. My eyebrow lifted and a smirk had half formed on my lips, but then LH said, “Awesome.” She whispered that my mat, the purple one, was the colour of sexual frustration. “Awesome,” LH repeated.
Yoga became awesome for the LH (Lowlife Hound). He started going to extra classes after the first week. Classes that I could never make: Classes in which he could breathe out in time with a woman who looked like (and dressed like) a goose.
Dr George put his strong hand on the small of my back and guided me through the waiting room.
And so I stood on the front step, in my bath mat, for the whole neighbourhood to see, (I saw Milly’s curtain flicker across the road and I knew that this news would spread like a virus) and I threw the pumpkin.
Fourteen sets animal and human eyes followed us to the consulting room and Dr George pushed open the door.
Let me explain the pumpkin. It was a huge orange Papier-mâché and wire Halloween carved pumpkin, given to the LH (Lying Hyena) on his Halloween themed surprise 30th birthday party (can you imagine?) by his beloved mother, who despised me. She had had it made by blind people who make crafts. On purpose. She knew he would never get rid of it and it was going to stay in our house forever. It was the pumpkin that stood, eternally and embarrassingly, at the front door.
This is the pumpkin I threw. It flew in an arc, hit, and bounced off the windscreen as the LH (Lugnut Heartbreaker) drove off. He stalled the car and got out, standing on the pumpkin and putting his foot through it. “You bitch. Not my pumpkin!” He screamed, and ripped his pants (his new, Thai fisherman’s pants) and made bloody scratches on his leg as he tore it off and hurled it in my direction. His aim was great. But Selwyn, who had attached himself to my damp leg by licking obsessively, was in the way. The crushed, bloody, broken pumpkin missed me entirely and managed to envelope a completely stunned and howling Selwyn.
Dr George put the pumpkin on the examination table and looked into my eyes.
Selwyn had loved the LH (Leeching Howler) more than anything in the world. It didn’t matter that I was the one who fed him, cuddled him, walked him, and bathed him. He was a one-man dog. That pumpkin changed everything. The LH (I have run out of insulting words that start with L and H) ran up to help Selwyn, stuck his hand into the gaping pumpkin mouth hole, and Selwyn bit. In that moment he changed allegiance. He became mine. The LH pulled out his hand, with Selwyn’s face attached. It now looked like Selwyn was wearing a pumpkin suit. Selwyn bit the LH on the shin. Then he jumped up and bit the retreating LH on the bum and wouldn’t let go until he climbed into the car.
I went inside and threw on a dress, shouted to Milly to mind her own business, and Selwyn and I took a cab to the vet. We sat in the waiting room while everyone sniggered. Then Dr George appeared. Dr George was very, very kind. And gorgeous. And funny. And sympathetic. Very sympathetic.